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9o                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                niw.
leading inhabitants. The defeat and capture of Ann- in
A.H. 288 (900)5 recorded in the preceding section, were
the culminating success of his career, and were rewarded
by a patent from the Caliph appointing him to the
governorship of Khorasan, Turkestan, Transoxiana, Siml,
Hind, and Jurgan. Though, as VambcTy points out in
his History of Bokhara^ the names of Mind and Si ml were
inserted merely by way of idle boast, Ismail's kingdom
was a great one, and he was not content to rest on his
laurels, but conducted successful campaigns against the
Turks to the East.
Ismail chose Bokhara as his capital, and to him it
mainly owes its title of Sharif^ or Noble* its fort dates
back to the time of this great Samanid, who gathered
round him a brilliant galaxy of historians, poets, and
doctors of law, and brought in the golden age of the city
on the Zarafshan.
Ismail was succeeded by Ahmad, who was murdered
in A.H. 301 (913) after an inglorious reign. Nasr, his
son, a boy of eight, then ascended the throne> and during
a reign of thirty years extended the possessions of the
dynasty by annexing Rei, Kum, and Isfahan, at the request
of the Caliph, to whom the dynasty rendered homage and
nominal obedience, Nasr II. was the Mamun of the
Samanid dynasty, and we have the following account of
the glories of his court from a contemporary, Abdul
Malik of Nishapur, who writes : " Bokhara was, under
the Samanid rule, the Focus of Splendour, the Shrine of
Empire, the Meeting-place of the most unique intellects
of the Age, the Horizon of the literary stars of the World,
and the Fair of the greatest scholars of the Period." l
Its Decay -and Downfall—Nasr was succeeded by Noh
or Noah, under whom the dynasty decayed, its kings
falling under the influence of Turkish slaves who were
promoted to the highest posts, Noh was followed by
Abdul Malik, the patron of Alptigin, who was killed at
polo after a rule of seven years; his brother Mansur
revived the prestige of the dynasty by exacting a tribute
from the Daylami rulers of Irak and Pars, Noh IL> who
1 Quoted from Browne, op, cit» p, 365*